Acid Reflux & Dental Health

man wonderingEven though acid reflux is a condition that originates in the stomach, it can affect other areas of the body, including the mouth. The truth is, people who suffer from acid reflux can be at greater risk for oral health concerns than those who don’t. Our dental office in Georgetown is here to help anyone dealing with acid reflux understand how it can negatively affect dental health and what you can do to reduce your risk.  

How Acid Reflux Affects the Mouth

A natural and important part of proper digestion includes the production of stomach acids. These acids help break down food so the body can digest what we eat. But these acids don’t always stay in the stomach. They can creep up the throat and into the mouth. Normally saliva in the mouth helps neutralize the acid and wash it away before it has a chance to cause damage. But when someone has acid reflux, which may also be referred to as GERD, stomach acids make their way up into mouth repeatedly. This leaves the mouth and teeth exposed to the acid. It’s this consistent exposure to the acid that causes damage to teeth.

Acid Leads to Tooth Damage

Acid is one of the worst things for teeth as it eats away at the protective enamel and leaves teeth at increased risk for decay, cavities, and other problems. As this erosion occurs and teeth are damaged, the need for dental treatment such as fillings, a root canal, or a dental crown may be required to help restore the tooth’s structure. Some signs that your teeth may have some level of acid erosion include:

  • Increased sensitivity
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Painful abscess

Reduce Your Risk

Many times acid reflux can be treated or the symptoms can be minimized through the use of a doctor-recommended medication. Additionally, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of damage caused by acid reflux including:

  • Chewing sugar-free gum to help promote saliva production to rinse away acid
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to strengthen enamel
  • Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce acid reflux episodes
  • Seeing your dentist in Georgetown every six months to catch any problems early.

If you suffer from acid reflux and are worried about your dental health, we welcome you to call our Georgetown dental office to schedule an appointment today. We will take a close look at your overall oral health and talk with you about the best way to protect your teeth against the dangers of acid reflux.

These Treats Are Worse for Teeth Than Candy

girl with jack-o-lanternWhen it comes to candy-filled holidays like Halloween, we usually caution our patients to enjoy sweet snacks and candy in moderation. And with good reason. It should come as no surprise that sugar is one of those things that concerns the team at our dental office in Georgetown. After all, sugar is a dentist’s worst nightmare, right? Maybe not. It turns out that there are some snacks out there that can be worse for your smile than sugar-packed candies.

What’s the Big Deal About Sugar Anyway?

Before we dive into some of the surprising snacks that are scarier to oral health than candy, it’s important to take a look at why sugar is such a concern. When we eat foods or drink beverages with high sugar content we essentially feed the bacteria that live in our mouths. This bacteria then releases an acid as a byproduct of their feasting. The acid is what contributes to decay and cavities as it wears away the protective tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to bacteria and more acid.

Other Spooky Snacks

While candy will always be one of those things that your dentist in Georgetown will encourage you to eat in moderation, there are other snacks that are also a concern.

Citrus & Dried Fruits

These are surprising treats that can be dangerous for your grin but usually fall under the healthy category. It is fruit, after all. But certain fruits are highly acidic, and as we know, acid is bad for teeth. Citrus fruits such as grapefruit will quite literally eat away tooth enamel and leave teeth at risk. Dried fruit is also a healthy snack that’s not so great for your smile. These super sticky fruits can get stuck on teeth and are loaded with sugar. The longer the sugar is left around, the more the bacteria will eat it, and more acid is produced.

Crackers & Chips

Chips and crackers are perhaps more surprising that fruits as cavity-causing treats. Even though these foods aren’t sweet and don’t typically contain a lot of sugar, if any, they can still be a threat to oral health. Blame it on the high starch content. These starches affect your body similarly to the way sugar does. This is due to their high glycemic index. Foods with a high glycemic index will increase blood glucose and will feed bacteria in the mouth, just like sugar. The result is more food for the bacteria, more acidic byproduct, and more risk for cavities.

Do Your Part to Limit Your Risk of Decay

We’re not here to tell you to completely avoid candy this Halloween, or to quit eating certain fruits, chips, and crackers forever. Like anything, these things can be enjoyed in moderation. But our Georgetown dental office does encourage you to also drink plenty of water when snacking on foods that are known to increase the risk of decay. Most of all, have a happy and safe Halloween!

Those Funny Fall Feelings

autumn baby

September is the month of football, pumpkins, and crisp apples on a Saturday morning. It’s also the beginning of one of the most stressful times of the year for a lot of people. Have you ever noticed that the change in the daylight, the shortening of the days, and the impending worries of the holidays can make people….well… downright cranky? At our Georgetown dental office, we’ve got a few suggestions for keeping your spirits high as the temperatures start to drop.

Take a second for YOURSELF

Science has proved that levels of testosterone in both men and women increase in the fall. They think it may be ancient mating instincts – just like how animals ‘rut’ in the fall. If you’re looking to make a great first impression on a prospective mate, ask us about teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry options to make your smile bright and confident. We can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted quickly and easily in our Georgetown dental office.

Eat Some Pumpkin

Pumpkins are actually a super-food that we always recommend for our patients. They’re full of fiber, which helps stimulate saliva and protect your teeth against decay. They’re also full of zinc, which is often added to toothpastes to help prevent plaque buildup.

BUT… Watch the Sugar

Now when we say for you to go out and eat some pumpkin, we mean healthy options like pumpkin seeds, a smoothie, or a freshly baked pumpkin pay (maybe baked by your new sweetie!). What we do not recommend are those sugary Pumpkin Spice Latte drinks available at commercial coffeeshops — they’re LOADED with sugar and empty calories that could lead to cavities.

Let Us Help You Plan Ahead

Like we said, fall can be stressful with your kids sports schedules, school events, and the inevitability of all those holiday events on the horizon. BREATHE. It’ll be ok… let’s look at your calendar now and plan out your hygiene appointments for the family for the remainder of the year, as well as making sure you’re using your insurance benefits to the fullest before the end of 2018. We can easily plan appointments several weeks or even months out for you, and adjust them if needed as those dates approach.

We hope that these tips can help to keep the stresses of the Autumnal Equinox at bay so that you can spend more time enjoying the beauty of the changing of the leaves, the fog on a fall morning, and the bounties of nature at the farmers market. Call our Georgetown dental office today and we’ll get you scheduled with no stress.

Your Oral Health Doesn’t Take Vacations!

smiling woman on vacationYaaaay Summer! This is the season for quick weekend getaways, trips to the beach or the river lot, and trips to see relatives all over the place for family picnics. One thing that should never take a vacation is your oral health. Is it possible to take really good care of your teeth when you’re away from home? Your Georgetown dental team knows … and it’s easier than you might think.

Pack Wisely

When you’re packing for a trip, even if it’s just for one night, don’t forget your toothbrush and toothpaste. Try setting your toiletry bag out in the bathroom the night before, and then you’ll remember to put your toothbrush, paste, and floss inside the bag when you’re done brushing in the morning.

Road Trip

If you’re planning a long road trip with the family, bring your toothbrush in a bag inside the car. You can always brush your teeth at rest stops and other places when you take a bathroom break, or those much-needed breaks just to get out and stretch.

Kids are Picky

If your child only likes brushing with her Frozen toothbrush that lights up and plays the theme song to make sure she brushes her teeth long enough, be sure to bring it along. Even if you’re staying somewhere that you could borrow a toothbrush, like at a family member’s house, your child may not want to use that one because… as she might say, “it’s just not the same!”

What if You Forget

Let’s say you planned ahead, but you still get to your destination and realize that you forgot your toothbrush. If you can’t get to a drug store or supermarket to get a temporary one, wrap a slightly damp paper towel around your finger, apply a little bit of toothbrush, and make do with your temporary “finger-brush.”  If you’re stuck being the driver on that long road trip we mentioned, try chewing some sugarless gum or nibbling on a carrot while you drive.

Your Georgetown dentist wants you to get out there and enjoy all the summertime adventures that you can…. But don’t forget the importance of good oral health while you’re out there having fun. When you get back, be sure to call our office to set up your next hygiene appointment, and tell us about your trip!

Tasty Treats that are also Good for Teeth

applesIt’s Spring! FINALLY! The staff at our Georgetown dental office is excited to get outside and get active with family and friends. We’re also thinking about eating healthier and lighter, and shaking off the heavy comfort food that we indulged in all winter long. We wanted to tell you about some healthy snacking ideas for spring that are not only tasty, they’re also good for your teeth!

Cheese Please!

Cheese is a great, healthy snack for kids and adults because of all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients inside, including calcium for strong tooth enamel. But that’s not all…. Chewing on a piece of cheese also increase the saliva in your mouth, keeping bad bacteria and sugars from lingering on your tooth surfaces.

An Apple A Day

Apples are great for your teeth because eating them also increases the saliva in your mouth. Not only that, the rough texture of apples stimulates your gums as it lightly scrubs against your teeth. (Apples are also full of fiber, which is great for your overall health.)

Almonds and Sunflower Seeds

Nuts like almonds and seeds like those from our happy sunflowers are a great source of protein and calcium while still being really low in sugar. Maybe try some in homemade hummus! (YUM!)

Low-Fat Yogurt

You’ve probably heard those commercials for yogurts with probiotics in them that are so good for your tummy. Well guess what? All that good bacteria is great for your gums, blocking out the bad bacteria that can lead to cavities.

If you’re getting hungry, consider going to one of the three local Farmers Markets here in Georgetown to stock up on those healthy snacks!

On Thursdays from 2:30-5:30 p.m., visit The Farmers Market in the Republic Shopping Center at 900 N. Austin Ave. The Sun City Farmers Market is every Tuesday, 9 a.m. till Noon at 2 Texas Drive, and the Wolf Ranch Farmers Market is every Saturday, 9 a.m. till 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Wolf Ranch Shopping Center.

Your Georgetown dental office is full of great ideas for healthy snacks that are also great for your oral health. Ask us about it at your next appointment!

“Is Drinking Wine Bad for My Teeth?”

romantic valentine's dinnerWith February being the month of celebrating love, we’re sure there’s a few of you that will be planning a candlelight dinner with your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day. One question that our Georgetown dental team often hears involves that lovely glass of Syrah or Merlot or Pinot Noir served alongside that beautiful steak…. “Is drinking wine bad for my teeth?” Let’s look at the facts…

All Wines are Acidic

Whether we’re talking white wine, red wine, or a rosé, all wine is highly acidic. Those acids can break down tooth enamel and cause teeth to look dull or yellow. A lack of enamel also leaves the teeth at risk for bacteria and further decay.

What About Organic Wines?

We’re obviously big fans of organic wines here at our Georgetown dental office, since these wines are produced without harmful pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemical compounds that are bad for the environment. BUT, even without those extra chemical additives, organic wines still have the same high acid levels that can affect your protective layer of tooth enamel.

So… Should I Not Drink Wine Anymore?

As long as you’re enjoying your glass of wine safely, responsibly, and in moderation, we’re certainly not going to tell you to banish that bottle down to the cellar. Consider these helpful hints:

  • Swish your mouth with water after drinking a glass of wine. The water will help neutralize some of those acids and wash them away from the surface of your teeth.
  • Don’t brush your teeth immediately after that glass of wine. (YES, we know that sounds weird coming from your dentist). Brushing too soon can actually spread the acids around your mouth more, exposing more teeth to it’s damaging effects.

The bottom line is, your Georgetown dentist wants you to keep an eye on your teeth, and if you do discover some discoloration, whether it’s due to a gambit of grenache or a moderate malbec, we have cosmetic dentistry solutions to get your teeth back to bright white in no time. And of course, we’re always welcoming new patients and would happy to see you no matter what your riesling….. or reason…may be.

Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

smiling selfieAs we roll into 2018, we all make grandiose lists of resolutions. In our minds we think of all of the things that we want to do to improve upon ourselves, our health, our finances, or our lives in general. But let’s be honest, by the end of February, most of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Our Georgetown dental office has some suggestions for some health- related resolutions that you can actually keep… and feel really good about at the same time.

1 – Quit Smoking

Ok, so this one might be the hardest of all to keep, but we know you can do it. Both regular and smokeless tobacco comes with increased risk of heart disease, any number of cancers, yellow teeth, plaque buildup, and general stinkyness. If you need help or resources for putting down the pack, just ask at your next visit.

2 – Turn off the Tap

We’ve told you all year long about our ‘Save 90 a Day’ program in partnership with the Eco-Dentistry Association. Leaving the water running while you brush your teeth wastes almost 90 glasses of water A DAY. A DAY! Make an effort to turn off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth to help conserve water and help the environment.

3 – Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and carrots can remove tooth plaque and freshen your breath. Plus, these healthy snacks are packed with antioxidant power to help kill bacteria and prevent inflammation, not only in your teeth and gums but in your whole body.

4 – See Your Dentist

Your 6 month cleaning is much more than ‘just a cleaning’… we’re checking for decay, cavities, and also gum disease. We’re also looking for early warning signs of larger, whole-body issues that can first appear in your mouth. Plus, this is a great time to talk about any cosmetic concerns that you may have, or plan out treatments to improve the look of your smile.

There’s never been a better time to make some resolutions that you can actually keep, and improve your health and the environment while you’re at it! Schedule your appointment at our Georgetown dental office today and let us help you make 2018 the best year ever!

Chocolate’s Surprising Dental Health Benefits

woman eats chocolate

When it comes to talking about food choices that are good for your teeth, your dentist in Georgetown has some not-so-surprising go to selections such as veggies, cheeses, and dairy products packed with calcium. But it may surprise you to hear that our dental office in Georgetown is also a fan of chocolate.

Fight Cavities, Eat Chocolate!

Recent research conducted on the oral health effects of chocolate have caused dental professionals across the world to take a closer look at the sweet treat. It probably comes as no surprise that dentists typically shy away from sugar-packed snacks such as chocolate. But several studies have shown a positive benefit between consuming dark chocolate and lower amounts of decay.

It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!

It may seem like magic that something so delicious may actually have a host of health benefits, but there’s a solid scientific explanation behind why dark chocolate is actually good for teeth. To better understand the science behind the benefits, we need to take a closer look at what makes up our favorite dark chocolate snacks.

The Good Stuff

The compounds found in dark chocolate, or more specifically the cocoa bean husk, have antibacterial and plaque-fighting properties. One of the main components of dark chocolate, CBH, may even find its way into over-the-counter dental products in the future thanks to the positive research on its beneficial effects. Studies surrounding CBH support the idea that this ingredient may be better at fighting decay than fluoride treatments. But don’t go and pass up the fluoride just yet. More research is needed to truly determine the entire host of CBH benefits.

How Does It Work?

Usually when we eat foods with a lot of sugar content, we leave our teeth exposed to the dangers of the sugars. Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugars and produce acid as a byproduct. This acid eats away at protective enamel and leaves teeth susceptible to cavities. However, the compounds in dark chocolate counteract the high sugar content and the damaging effects that go along with it by releasing their antibacterial properties and fighting off plaque.  

Not Just Any Chocolate Will Do

Keep in mind that these studies look at the benefits of dark chocolate. Milk chocolate as well as white chocolate have a higher sugar content, and eating too much of either may contribute to higher rates of decay.

Following a well-balanced diet can do wonders in helping you keep your mouth healthy and cavity free. Add in a few dark chocolate indulgences, brush and floss regularly, and maintain hygiene appointments at our Georgetown dental office for the best preventive approach to good oral health.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month

hygiene appointmentWhen most people think of October, we doubt they immediately think of their teeth. In fact, they might not think about teeth at all except if a piece of Halloween candy does some unexpected damage. That’s where we’re a little different. At our dental office in Georgetown, when we think of October, we think of National Dental Hygiene Month, our dental hygienists, and their dedication to keeping patients’ mouths healthy.

About National Dental Hygiene Month

Every October, the dental community celebrates National Dental Hygiene Month. Sponsored by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) and the Wrigley Oral Healthcare Program (WOHP), National Dental Hygiene Month is designed to increase awareness of how proper dental hygiene is crucial to maintaining a healthy mouth and healthy body. According to the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health (AAOSH) there is a link between oral health and several whole body concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and others.

The Daily 4

The main focus of National Dental Hygiene Month this year is on the top four necessary components of a proper at home oral hygiene routine. These four aspects include:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Rinsing
  • Chewing

Read on to learn more important information from your dentist in Georgetown.

Brushing

We all know we should brush our teeth everyday, but according to American Dental Association (ADA), there are certain guidelines you should follow to get the most out of your brushing routine. Make sure to brush twice a day for two minutes each. You should select a soft-bristled toothbrush and a small, gentle circular motion instead of a back and forth scrubbing technique to reduce potential damage to your enamel.

Flossing

Sometimes we’re asked if flossing is really necessary. The short answer? Absolutely. Why? We’re glad you asked. When you only brush your teeth and don’t floss you’re missing out on cleaning about 35% of each tooth. That’s a lot of opportunity for bacteria to get comfy and start the decay process. Make sure you’re removing as much bacteria and plaque as possible by flossing in between each tooth and up under the gum line.

Rinsing

Mouthwash may seem like an unnecessary part of an oral healthcare routine. However, the right product can help reduce bad breath, gingivitis, decay, and plaque. Look for one that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. This means the product has been scientifically tested and evidence supports the claims made on the label.

Chewing

Brushing your teeth after you eat is ideal, but we realize that may not be possible for everyone all the time. When you can’t brush after a meal, chew a piece of sugarless gum instead. Chewing gum helps produce saliva which aids in neutralizing bacteria that may be left over from your meal.

We encourage every one of our patients and neighbors to follow The Daily 4 diligently for a healthy, happy mouth. However, it’s still important to maintain dental cleanings and bi-annual appointments with your dentist. These visits help remove stuck-on plaque or tartar that you just can’t get at home and ensure there are no problems lurking in your mouth. If you’re looking for a new dental team, we’re always accepting new patients and would love to see you. Give our Georgetown dental office a call to schedule an appointment.

Halloween Candy can be SCARY for Teeth

Halloween teensIt won’t come as a shock to you that Halloween is typically not your Georgetown dentist’s favorite holiday. Yes, of course we love the dressing up and bobbing for apples, but we definitely aren’t crazy about all that candy and the impact it can have on your smile. While we know that tons of sweet treats will be available to you and your children all month long, we’d like to give you some advice to keep all that candy from harming your teeth.

1 – Go For the Chocolate

We know, it sounds weird, but if you have one type of treat to choose from in your trick or treat basket, choose chocolate. Why? Chocolate dissolves more easily and doesn’t hang around on your teeth like sticky or hard candies. That makes it less likely to cause decay.

2 – Avoid the Ooeys and the Gooeys

Sticky, chewy candies like toffees and caramels can cling to your teeth, allowing bacteria to thrive. They’ve also been know to pull out fillings and loosen other dental restorations from time to time, especially hard candies that you have to bite into. It’s better to pass on these.

3 – Consider a Healthier Alternative

If you’re hosting a Halloween party this year, consider having some non-candy alternatives on hand like small bags of pretzels, sliced up apples, or dippable veggies. You can even get creative with your snacks by finding easy recipes on Pinterest, or try these spooky treats from Delish.com

Finally, remember that a little candy goes a long way. If you or your children are going to indulge in sweet treats, try to dole them out in moderation or as rewards for getting things done around the house. This will keep your Georgetown dental team from having a fright when you come for your next dental cleaning!

Have a Spooktacular Halloween from your Trade Winds Dental team!